Generative AI and being ready for anything: CEOs share their priorities for 2024

As a new year kicks off, CEOs share the challenges businesses will have to navigate over the next 12 months and the strategies they’re lining up to overcome them

Chiefs Resolutions 2024cut
Debbie Weinstein 
Managing director, Google UK & Ireland 

It will be no surprise that one of the key business opportunities for CEOs in 2024 will be understanding how to make the most of AI. Generative AI in particular has been top of everyone’s minds over the past year, but it’s important to remember that AI has been transforming the way we live, work and experience the world for more than a decade and the business opportunities to succeed and grow are endless.

I am constantly hearing from business leaders how excited they are about the potential of AI, but also how overwhelming it can be to make sense of all these opportunities. AI is a ‘horizontal’ technology, in the sense that it can be applied widely.  With this in mind, seeking clarity on how AI applications can be applied to drive the most important business goals should be a priority for business leaders.

After all, the potential impact of AI is enormous, with our most recent Economic Impact report estimating that under the right conditions, AI-powered innovation could create over £400 billion in economic value for the UK economy by 2030.

As CEOs look across their teams from marketing to operations, policy to sales, they should also recognise the opportunity to upskill and future proof their workforce. We believe this is about developing a workplace culture that encourages continuous lifelong learning, which will ultimately help achieve long-term advantage. It’s about instilling the behaviours of testing, learning and scaling, which is how Google drives continuous improvements in our products every day.

The most important thing for CEOs to do in 2024, however, is simply to embrace the opportunity. AI is not a fad. It’s the most profound technology we are working on today. From optimising operations and predicting customer needs, to streamlining supply chains, AI has the potential to create competitive advantage for every business.

For our part, in the coming year, we expect to spend even more time working with business leaders on the practical applications of AI to their business opportunities.  With ads products from Search and YouTube, custom AI solutions on Google Cloud, to collaborative tools from Google Workspace, we are focused on empowering businesses to unlock sales potential, boost profits, and optimise operations.

Luke Boase 
Founder and chief executive, Lucky Saint 

No-one can hide from consumer confidence, which has taken a hit over the past 24 months. And we don’t know how 2024 will shape up. What we do know is that consumers will continue to prioritise their health in 2024 and within that we expect to see moderation as a key theme. 

Consumers are going to continue to moderate their alcohol consumption and what we’ll do as a business is continue to make alcohol-free beer more available and more visible. We’ve just introduced our first new product since launching with our lager, bringing Lucky Saint Superior Hazy IPA to the market ahead of Dry January. We’re very excited to give people more choice and we believe will help bring more consumers into the alcohol-free category.

Moderation is now mainstream. But the alcohol-free category is still in its infancy in the UK, especially when you compare it to the size of the category in many European countries. 

In 2024, it’s time for Lucky Saint to be bringing the best beer drinking experiences across the UK. On draught in pubs, in stadia, and in bottles and cans in restaurants and supermarkets 

We’re a small entrepreneurial business, which means we have limited resources and limited finances. Our challenge is generally one of prioritisation; we can’t always do everything we want, so we have to think about doing the things we can do really, really well. That means developing and retaining our talent, and being seen by the right people, in the right places, at the right time. We need to make our voice heard, which means being impactful across the board – having an impactful brand, marketing and distribution.

Fiona Gordon 
Chief executive, Ogilvy UK 

This year will undoubtedly present challenges for businesses, who will need to be mindful of a forthcoming general election, ongoing geopolitics and the cost-of-living crisis, which is affecting everyone.

But, at the same time, there is still some cause for optimism. Major sporting events, such as the Olympics and the European Football Championship, are likely to yield spending moments and it’s important that companies are fully prepared to participate in any spikes in consumer confidence. Even in a downturn, people still want to save up and treat themselves from time to time, so it’s vital that businesses signpost their products and services as offering value for money.

For me, the key to having a successful 2024 will hinge on being prepared for any given scenario. That means having a Plan A, B, C, D and more. I like to think of it as having SWAT teams armed and ready to go! 

In advertising, communications and PR, Ogilvy is operating in a particularly interesting and evolving space. We’ve got to think deeply about where and how people are consuming content, what messaging strikes a chord and what doesn’t. We’ve invested in expanding our influencer team as we really believe that social media is becoming an increasingly important conversation landscape. We’re working hard on content and campaigns that can achieve maximum impact and connection as quickly as possible. 

Finally, as an employer, we’re looking at what we can do, sustainably, to retain our great talent. We are committed to pay rises where possible, but more broadly than that, we understand that people’s jobs mean more these days than just a pay cheque. Internal development, promoting from within and more holistic support and benefits which offer staff help with their wider lives, are all essential for creating an organisation that people want to not just work for, but be a part of.